|The Philippines and Malaysia shake hands after their hard-fought quarterfinal battle. Ivan Saldajeno|
By Ivan Saldajeno
BINAN--Ryan Hallden put the Alonte Sports Arena into frenzy on Wednesday night as his near buzzer-beating goal gave the Philippine floorball team a 5-4 win against Malaysia in the Asia Oceania Floorball Confederation Cup Quarterfinals.
Hallden scored the go-ahead strike with just two seconds left in the match as the Philippines punched the last ticket to the semifinals despite blowing a seemingly comfortable lead after two periods.
Behind a balanced scoring in which Patrik Schoultze, Jan Vitaliano, Christian Schoultze, and Alexander Warendh each made one goal, the Philippines raced to a 4-2 lead 40 minutes into their one-hour clash.
However, Malaysia suddenly came alive in the final 20 minutes.
With Malaysia going for an empty net by subbing out its goalkeeper due to a delayed penalty, Ter Min Chiam sneaked one goal in with 14:17 left in the game to trim the lead down to one, 4-3.
Tristan Dass made the Philippines pay for failing to take advantage of a power play by scoring the equalizer for Malaysia with 5:19 remaining.
The Philippines once again could not capitalize on a power play off a tackle foul by Mohamad Amir, setting up the wild finish.
However, Hallden tried a long attempt from the left side that slipped past the Malaysian goalie and into the goal for the game-winner even as Malaysia failed to try a single attempt in the end.
Vitaliano was named the best player of the game for the Filipinos.
On the other hand, Zephaniah Chong was commended too for his effort for the Malaysians, highlighted by an assist that led to their first goal courtesy of Ter.
The Philippines will next face Thailand in the semifinals on Thursday night at the said venue.
Thailand, ranked 14th in the world, clinched an outright semifinal spot after ruling Group A in the group stages.
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